April 19, 2019

The ‘Latin Spring’ Is Heating Up

“Arab Spring, move aside. Latin Spring is now blossoming, and if all goes well, it will be less bloody and a lot more successful at ousting corrupt leaders and promoting homegrown democratically elected representatives than the Middle East revolutions.

The North African and the Middle East popular movements that began in late 2010 shook up the power balance, catalyzed civil wars and further destabilized the region. Venezuela just experienced a so-far relatively peaceful and planned constitutional coup.

It’s way too early to predict if the effects of Wednesday’s dramatic event will devolve into chaos or breed new forms of violence, corruption, juntas or dictatorships, but as with the Arab Spring countries, what kicked Venezuelans into action is that daily life hit rock bottom. Living conditions have gotten so bad that people’s hope for a better life completely dissolved. Ninety percent of Venezuelans today are living in poverty and over the last year had lost an average of 24 pounds. Citizens were both on the path to real starvation while on a strictly enforced diet from democracy.

On Wednesday, Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez announced that he was replacing the illegitimately re-elected — and still-resisting — Nicolás Maduro after a critical mass of hundreds of thousands of protesters hit the streets. Guaidó, the 35-year-old leader of the opposition National Assembly, declared himself interim president following a legislature-endorsed, American-recognized and popularly demanded political overthrow of Maduro. American allies and democratically elected regional leaders quickly jumped on the recognition bandwagon — rushing to make the Guaidó move stick.”

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